Bell Family

Are you by any chance researching the BELL family? Do you know of anyone searching the BELL family? Or, would you happen to be doing research in Warren County, Indiana? If so, the Bell family is a puzzle!

In December 1858, William C. Crawford married Mary E Bell. In 1860, William and Mary are shown on the census living in Pike Township, Warren County, Indiana.

According to the Find a Grave site, William C. Crawford died on 6 Nov 1860 and is buried in Warren County, Indiana. Family records indicate that William C. Crawford and his wife Mary E. Bell had a son, William Clay Crawford, who was born in January 1861 after his father’s death. The 1870 census supports this relationship since Mary E. Crawford and a 9 year old Wm C Crawford are living in the household of James Bell.

A check of the 1850 census for Warren County, Indiana includes a household for James Bell that includes a child, Mary E. Bell.

This 1850 census record is where the confusion begins. First, it includes two women of an appropriate age to be the wife of James Bell: Mary and Jane. Second, it includes George T. Bell in the household.

There is a George T. Bell of a similar age who married Eliza Foster in 1859. The 1917 death certificate for George Thomas Bell is available on Ancestry. According to this death certificate, George’s father was named Thomas.

Unfortunately, online trees aren’t proving to be much help figuring out these families. Most trees on Ancestry for George T. Bell have his father listed as Thomas (citing the death certificate). However, the tree on FamilySearch has George’s father listed as James (from the census record).

To help locate William Clay Crawford in the 1880 census, I’d like to track down BELL cousins to see if he is living near them. Thus, I need to figure out these families.

Since George T. Bell married Eliza W. Foster, their descendants are my cousins with Eliza’s father, Zebulon Foster being a common ancestor. Thus, I reached out to one of those cousins whom I had previously corresponded with to see if she could help. I knew we were related thru the FOSTER surname, but I did not realize that she descends from Eliza Foster and her husband George T. Bell! This cousin cleared up a lot of my confusion!

George T. Bell is the son of Thomas Bell. Thomas Bell is also the father of Mary E. Bell and James Bell. The three adults in the 1850 census record (James, Mary and Jane) are siblings of Thomas. Thus, the three children, George, Mary and James, are living with their uncle James and aunts Mary and Jane in 1850. This would suggest that Thomas and Melissa died before 1850.

I never would have figured this out without help from my FOSTER cousin!